When I was younger, I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to venture to different places and immerse myself in different cultures. I would be just like the movies, when someone would just pack his bag, leave everything behind, and ‘venture out into the unknown’. I still want to do that. I can’t wait for the chance to pack my bags and explore my country, or travel around Southeast Asia or even Europe. But despite my strong feeling of wanderlust, I am constantly reminded to stop, look, and be amazed at the big and little things around me. Most importantly, I should always be grateful.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned from experience that I want to share with you:
1. Be present and participate.
Today, we spend hours in front of the computer watching our favorite TV series, funny videos, or checking our News Feed from time to time. There are times when we plan to spend the weekend with friends but end up staying in bed the whole day. I am guilty of these things. I spend so much time on the internet reading about the places I dream of or watching movies that I forget to participate and be present. I dismiss the idea of hanging out with friends because I’m too lazy to get up. We may not realize it now, but instead of spending time with people who matter to us, we spend much of our time alone.
2. Appreciate the little things.
Take note of the little things people do and do for you. These small actions might be an unexpected hug from a family member or a smile from a stranger while commuting on the way home or even a short conversation with someone you’ll never see again. Things like these happen often, but we fail to appreciate those little moments because we are too busy or too distracted.
3. Relax (and don’t worry too much).
We worry too much about the future and end up not enjoying what we have now. Unconsciously, we miss out on the chance to enjoy the moment. We must not deprive ourselves of the opportunities at present; we must make the most of what we have.
There is so much to enjoy in life yet we spend most of our lives doing nothing or by focusing on material gain. As Joseph Pieper suggested, a person must “ease himself from active work, and orient himself with the unknown, beautiful, and the transcendent.” We should not be bound by a world defined by work; we should understand our dignity by also understanding the world around us. So go out, explore, participate, and be constantly amazed at the world. Go outside and believe that something good is about to happen. Live in the ‘now’ and take every new lesson with you.
By Joyce Ann Cedeño, a regional intern at the WYA Asia Pacific office